Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department rolled out its new rating system for its travel advisories. Most destinations in Europe earned the lowest Level 1 rating, such as Switzerland, Poland, Ireland, Portugal, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Greece, Sweden, Iceland, Finland and Norway. Here’s what you need to know about other popular destinations in Europe and their advisories.
Exercise Increased Caution
Many of Europe’s top destinations for U.S. travelers, including the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Denmark, are all listed by the State Department as Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution. The primary reasoning for such is terrorist attacks. From the State Department:
“Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in the United Kingdom. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.”
In addition to this warning, the U.K. has an added warning regarding isolated gang violence:
“There is also a risk of isolated violence by dissident groups in Northern Ireland, focused primarily on police and military targets,” the warning reads.
Two countries to be extremely cautious of traveling to, according to the State Department, are Turkey and Russia.
The State Department suggests that U.S. travelers skip over the following areas in Turkey, entirely: The Turkey-Syria border, Hatay, Kilis, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Sirnak, Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Mus, Mardin, Batman, Bingol, Tunceli, Hakkari, and Bitlis due to terrorism and arbitrary detentions.
The full warning states:
“Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Turkey. Terrorist organizations explicitly target Western tourists and expatriates. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.
“Under the current State of Emergency, security forces have detained individuals suspected of affiliation with alleged terrorist organizations based on scant or secret evidence and grounds that appear to be politically motivated. U.S. citizens have also been subject to travel bans that prevent them from departing Turkey. Participation in gatherings, protests, and demonstrations not explicitly approved by the Government of Turkey can result in arrest. The Government of Turkey has detained and deported U.S. citizens without allowing access to lawyers or family members, and has not routinely granted consular access to detained U.S. citizens who also possess Turkish citizenship.
“U.S. government subjects its personnel in Turkey to certain security restrictions. Family members cannot accompany U.S. government employees who work at the U.S. Consulate in Adana.”
As for Russia, the State Department tells travelers to avoid the north Caucasus, including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus, due to civil unrest and terrorism, and Crimea due to foreign occupation and abuses by occupying authorities.
The warning reads: “Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Russia. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities. Bomb threats against public venues are common.
“U.S. citizens are often victims of harassment, mistreatment, and extortion by law-enforcement and other officials. U.S. consular assistance to detained individuals is often unreasonably delayed by Russian officials. Russia also enforces special restrictions on dual U.S.-Russian nationals. Due to the Russian government-imposed reduction on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia, the U.S. government has reduced ability to provide services to U.S. citizens.”
No countries in Europe are listed as Level 4: Do Not Travel.